Sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who often helps to guide couples in navigating the issues of monogamy vs. nonmonogamy, is going to find himself either out of a job or with a lot more business as the years go on. An Out magazine article, ‘The New Monogomists’, explores the idea of gay couples begging to settle into relationships that are exclusively monogamous, and if it will be a lasting trend:
In Chicago, Anthony Navarro, 32, a wedding planner, and his boyfriend of 18 months, Patrick Niles, 31, who works for a luxury clothing consignment shop, say that an open relationship was never on the table. “We were both raised by good families with the belief that as you get older, you find your partner—the love of your life, the person that makes you happy—and you build a foundation with that person,” Navarro explains. “We both believe that monogamy strengthens that bond, making a stronger couple ready to build a life together and overcome some obstacles that nonmonogamous couples wouldn’t otherwise have.”
And in Philadelphia, Cesar Anthony Fernandez, 24, a waiter, and Nick Joseph Selvaggi, 33, a project manager for an engineering firm, have been together two years—and are so monogamous that, unlike the Douthit-Boyds, they won’t even comment on other guys’ looks to each other. “Not because we don’t notice,” says Fernandez, “but we’re human, with insecurities, so it’s out of respect for that.”
“Plus,” he says, “it’s usually pretty obvious when someone’s good-looking, so it doesn’t need stating.”
“I concur,” adds Selvaggi.
The article notes that the idea of exclusive monogamy is a thought trend that lies more with younger gay men, and suggests that the influence behind it may be due to the opportunities of equality that the gay community now has:
“Data we’ve collected [shows that] young men ages 16 to 25 are entirely focused on monogamy,” says Brian Mustanski, who studies gay relationships at Northwestern University. “Almost none of them can even conceive of having an open relationship. Many were shocked when I brought it up. I think that idea comes around later, in their 30s, after having had several relationships.”
Or could it be that gay men under 35 are embracing monogamy not out of wide-eyed, undying passion for one person but because, now more than ever, society, religion, and their families are urging them to? “Today’s younger generation of gay men [in the U.S.] is unique insofar as they are coming of age in an era that lends the possibility of same-sex civil marriage,” says Adam Isaiah Green, who studies gay male relationships at the University of Toronto. “No longer society’s default sexual outlaws, they’re presented with institutional opportunities to create intimate lives that are not too different from their heterosexual counterparts. They’re also adopting children more. These factors don’t in and of themselves equate with monogamous practices, but they’re probably correlated. Certainly they present a very different backdrop against which younger gay men may imagine their opportunities.”
So, will this be a permanent trend; the new normal in gay relationships or, as Savage himself suggests, will these relationships open up as the couples involved in them age:
…Dan Savage, the 49-year-old Seattle-based sex columnist who has talked publicly about being “monogamish” (almost but not quite monogamous) with Terry Miller, his lover of 18 years (they married in 2012). “I attempted monogamy in my 20s, too,” he says. “But life is long, and what you want at 25 isn’t necessarily what you want at 35 or 45. Every gay male couple I know in a serious and successful long-term relationship is nonmonogamous, even the ones who were monogamous the first 10 years.”
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